Object of the Month, “Getting a Real Threshing”

by Daniel Goodman, Director of Education and Collections

Threshing Implement

Every now and then I get a “what is it” question about an object. With everything we have here at the Museum, it is not uncommon to come across something that is a bit of a puzzle. The item in question this month is the Threshing Board hanging in the portal between La Tiendita and the Tin Shop. It consists of a flat piece of wood with pieces of stone stuck in the bottom. This threshing implement is drug by a draft animal across a threshing floor while the operator sits on the board.  Children were often used to add weight to the board, which I’m sure made threshing season a fun one. The board separates the grain from the stalk and husk, which are winnowed out later.

In Spanish it is a “trill” and in Basque it is called a “gaceria”. However, I’m not sure if either of those words were used in New Mexico as they don’t show up in Cobos’ “A Dictionary of New Mexico and Southern Colorado Spanish.”  I’m also unsure as to how common they were in New Mexico, as most of the references I’ve seen rely on animals trampling the wheat on a threshing floor. It is a simple enough tool however, so I imagine they were used and maybe even utilized in conjunction with other threshing methods.

Maybe we should offer threshing board rides at Harvest Festival…kids and kids-at-heart only, of course!

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